Currently viewing the tag: "Business competitions"
Following up on my post about the Tufts $100K New Ventures Competition, this happy news greeted me from my inbox last Friday. The email came from Professor Weitz, Fletcher’s Entrepreneur Coach (and an alumnus).
Dear Fletcher community,
As Entrepreneur Coach, I am pleased to report that Fletcher startups did quite well in yesterday’s Tufts $100K New Ventures Competition.
A small, but loud, contingent of Fletcher students, faculty, and staff attended to cheer on our four Fletcher startup finalists:
The Blue Water Metrics team (Matt Merighi, F16, Caroline Troein, F13, Jack Whitacre, F16, and Sea Sovereign Thomas, F02) placed second in the Tufts $100K Social Impact Track, which translates into $7,000 cash in startup capital + $5,000 in free legal fees + free office space in downtown Boston.
The Uliza team (Grant Bridgman, F16, Abhishek Maity, F16, and undergraduate student Janet Jepkogei, A17) placed third in the Tufts $100K Social Impact Track, which translates into $3,000 cash in startup capital + $5,000 in free legal fees + free office space in downtown Boston.
Although they didn’t win any prize money, the PowerShare International team (Jamie Powers, F16, Tarun Gopalakrishnan, F16, Nathan Justice, A17, and Jack Whitacre, F16) and the Rashmi team (Rajiv Nair, F16, Sreedhar Nemmani, F16, and Alisha Guffey, F16) successfully competed with over 65 other Tufts startups to place as finalists in the Tufts $100K, which is a significant accomplishment.
Overall Fletcher startups represented 4 out of 6 finalists in the Tufts $100K Social Impact Track, showcasing teamwork of 14 Fletcher students and alumni.
Please join me in congratulating them today!
All my best,
Today and tomorrow, four teams from Fletcher will be showcasing their ventures at the finals of the Tufts 100K New Ventures Competition. The full program of activities includes the competition itself, the Tufts Entrepreneurship Showcase, a keynote address from John Sculley, and the awards ceremony.
In addition to the big prize, there is a $1000 audience award, so the Fletcher teams are encouraging the community to come out and vote for them. It’s a public event and tickets are available.
The four Fletcher teams are:
PowerShare, which also competed last year.
And you can (as usual) follow the competition on Twitter. Good luck to our entrepreneurial students!
PowerShare is the real-time mobile solution that allows governments and voters to communicate, prioritize, and achieve the goals of their community. Conflict and partisanship increase when governments and their constituents do not communicate effectively. Elected officials increasingly demand accurate and timely information about what the majority of their constituents want to achieve. PowerShare offers a mobile and web-based solution: Voters submit concerns, PowerShare transforms concerns into goals, prioritizes goals based on the number of voters concerned, and representatives provide feedback on those priorities based on their expertise.
Samata is a community radio and podcast network that seeks to change prevalent attitudes towards gender norms and domestic violence. Voiced by survivors of gender-based violence and their allies, Samata’s programs will feature discussion groups, storytelling, and advice designed to empower women and their communities to think differently.
The team pitch sessions and award presentation are open to the public. If you’re in the area, plan to stop by and support the Fletcher teams! Good luck to PowerShare and Samata!
Remember last spring’s Fletcher D-Prize winners, Andrew Lala and Tommy Galloway? Well, they’ve successfully converted their concept to a product and they are on the ground in Koudougou, delivering solar lanterns and electricity to rural communities in Burkina Faso! For updates and details about their products, check out Clair de Lune’s website or follow them on Twitter. As you read through the website, keep in mind that Andrew and Tommy only graduated in May. It’s fantastic to see them turn an idea into reality so quickly! I’m looking forward to reading more as their business gets rolling.
Winners of two different competitions were announced this week, and one Fletcher team was successful in both! This exciting news calls for two Cool Stuff blog entries in two days. Here’s an announcement from Dean Bhaskar Chakravorti:
Please join me in congratulating Andrew Lala, F’14 and Tommy Galloway, F’14 as the winners of the inaugural Fletcher D-Prize: Poverty Solutions Venture Competition. Andrew and Tommy will receive $15,000 (and tens of thousands more in non-monetary advice and networks) to help them pilot their Clair de Lune – Solar Light Distributor Platform, which uses existing bus infrastructure and cultural remittance practices to reach the rural poor in Sub-Saharan Africa. This summer, Andrew and Tommy will bring this “poverty solution venture” to 400 families in Burkina Faso. Fletcher D-Prize judges believe that, in two years, Andrew and Tommy will have an impact on the world by proving that you can provide energy to over 100,000 families living on less than a few dollars a day.
We hope that this award, and the competition among a large number of very strong proposals, signals that Fletcher prepares leaders adept not only at crossing borders of all kinds – disciplinary and geographic – but also with the ability to jump across the border of knowledge into entrepreneurial action. We aspire to develop and facilitate international ninjas, if you will. Andrew and Tommy are two terrific examples of such international ninjas. A family that buys a solar lamp saves money on energy expenses and is more productive outside of daylight hours. Household incomes often increase 15-30%. Study hours for children rise by two hours. Solar lamps also erase the far too common dangers that come with kerosene lanterns.
The award will be presented to Andrew and Tommy today, only two days after they received an “audience choice” award at the Tufts $100K New Ventures Competition, at which they were finalists (shown in photo above).
This is the 10th anniversary for the Tufts $100K, which prompted a look back. BostInno selected Educate Lanka as one of the top six ventures to come out of the Tufts $100K competition. Congratulations to our good blog friend Manjula!
It isn’t true that every time I turn around there’s another update about something exciting happening in the environment field here at Fletcher, but it feels that way. Just this spring, here’s some of what we’ve heard:
First, we received an update from Prof. Gallagher, whom you read about on the blog just last week. She wrote:
Dear colleagues, students, and friends of Fletcher,
I am pleased to announce some exciting changes in the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy (CIERP).
Last fall, I invited a number of faculty members from around Fletcher to join CIERP as Faculty Research Affiliates. These faculty members will be working in one or more of our five research programs. From Fletcher we are delighted to have Prof. Jenny Aker, an expert on development and agriculture. From the Economics Department at Tufts, Prof. Gilbert Metcalf, Prof. Kelsey Jack, and Prof. Ujjayant Chakravorty. From Political Science, we welcome Prof. Kent Portney who has agreed to direct our water and oceans program and who is an expert on water policy and sustainable cities, among other topics. We look forward to deepening our research collaborations with these outstanding faculty members at Tufts. As was already announced, we also look forward to having Prof. Avery Cohn in residence for the next academic year as our new professor of environment and resource policy. Avery will lead our Agriculture and Forests program.
Mieke van der Wansem, a long-standing staff member and Fletcher alumna, becomes the new Associate Director of Educational Programs. In this new role, she will enhance the overall effectiveness of CIERP in meeting its educational mission. She will work to expand and sustain executive education, help guide the development and implementation of environment and natural resource policy education initiatives inside and outside the classroom, and manage some of our research projects as appropriate.
Kelly Sims Gallagher
Then we learned that Prof. Gallagher and Prof. Portney had submitted a proposal to the Tufts University provost to create a new “bridge professor” position in the field of water security. Here’s their description:
The Water Security Bridge Professor would work in the interdisciplinary area of international environmental security, covering issues of political sovereignty, human rights, regional security, and sustainable development. It might also include a focus on the policies and mechanisms, military and nonmilitary, nations use in their efforts to gain and protect access to water. A regional focus could be both possible and desirable, for example, in Southeast Asia, the Arctic, and the states of the former Soviet Union.
As blogger, I should have the answer to the question of when the bridge professor will join us. I have to admit that I’m not sure, but I believe it will be for September 2015.
And then, there’s the annual Tufts Energy Conference coming up next weekend, March 8-9. As the conference website says:
The Tufts Energy Conference (TEC) is a two-day energy conference that brings together experts from the private, public, and nonprofit sectors with students and professionals to discuss critical global energy issues. The conference is entirely organized by students from a broad range of backgrounds in engineering, international affairs, urban planning, and economics. From a two-panel event in 2006, TEC has grown into one of the largest entirely student-run energy conferences in the region.
Experts from the private, public and nonprofit sectors, students, and professionals are all invited to attend TEC 2014 on March 8-9, 2014 (Saturday and Sunday), which will focus on Shifting Dynamics in Emerging Markets.
The conference agenda looks terrific! Come on over!
Last (or at least, the last piece of news I’ve been able to keep track of), there’s the 2014 Tufts Energy Competition, with a prize of $3,000 to jump-start an energy idea, and with a new-this-year solar competition:
Working on a project on energy or sustainability that can be transformed into a winning proposal? The Tufts Energy Competition is looking for your ideas. This competition is a celebration of innovative, student-driven solutions to energy challenges. The goal of the Tufts Energy Competition is ultimately to implement projects that explore solutions to key energy issues. The winning team will receive up to $3000 to implement their project and the runner-up team will receive $2000. Every Tufts student is eligible to apply, including engineering students, undergraduates, medical students, Fletcher students, and more.
Previous finalists and winners include:
• A Split Junction Solar Concentrator for More Efficient Electricity Generation
• Giving Students the Chance to Choose Their Energy
• Efficient Hygiene Initiatives: Bringing Ecological Sanitation to Thottiypatti
• Solar-Powered Uninterruptible Power Systems
• Ocean-Based Algae Energy
• Wind Turbines and Solar Cookers in Zimbabwe
• High Voltage Lithium Ion Battery Management System
The winner will be announced next weekend at the Tufts Energy Conference.
So that’s the round-up of a semester’s news for the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy and generally in the field. And it’s news that assures us that next year will be exciting, too!
Here’s a new initiative worth noting. This year, in partnership with D-Prize, Fletcher launches The Fletcher D-Prize: Poverty Solutions Venture Competition. Starting off the yearlong activity, the Fletcher D-Prize will offer an “ideation session” this week for budding social entrepreneurs throughout the university. As planning continues for the competition, I’ll be reporting back on the blog. For now, the competition’s Fletcher sponsor, the Institute for Business in a Global Context, is spreading the word via twitter. (
#FletcherDPrize and #FletcherEntrepreneur.)
Just over one year ago, Manjula Dissanayake graduated from Fletcher and I’ve been keeping up with him since. We recently exchanged emails and decided it’s time for a spring/summer update. Pulling together this blog post will require reaching into many websites and other sources, because Manjula has been a busy guy.
To recap: After graduating, Manjula decided to focus full-time on his non-profit, Educate Lanka, from his base near Washington, DC. Pushing Educate Lanka forward has required a combination of on-the-ground work in Sri Lanka, along with nearly continuous efforts to draw attention to the organization, in hopes funds would follow. Manjula’s work, inseparable from the organization, has been recognized in so many ways! Back in April, I was fortunate to grab a few minutes with him during his visit to the area when, over the course of three days, he spoke at the Tufts Social Innovation Symposium as well as at the Tufts 100K Business Plan Competition (as an alumni competitor), and also attended a research presentation, exhibition, and silent auction benefiting Educate Lanka at Harvard. Between events, he packed in visits to staff and faculty. During our conversation, he gave me a sense of the activities he had in front of him. Here’s what has kept Manjula busy during the past few months:
- He wrote a column for the Huffington Post.
- He attended a boot camp for American Express Emerging Innovators.
- For Educate Lanka, he was invited to speak at the Clinton Global Initiative University in St. Louis about fundraising strategies.
- Having been (with Educate Lanka) voted as a winner of the Ignite Good Millennial Challenge, he attended the Ignition 2013 Millennial Social Impact bootcamp.
- And then he taped an interview on Huffington Post Live about the Millennial Social Impact bootcamp.
Even while I was compiling the list of all these activities, I learned of yet another new one. This past Sunday, Manjula spoke live (via Google hangout) at the Social Media Day in Colombo, Sri Lanka about using “Social Media for Social Good.”
Throughout the past year, Manjula told me, he has developed plans to grow Educate Lanka and possibly to carry the concept beyond Sri Lanka. He has put together a Board of Advisors on which Fletcher is well represented, and he continues to promote Educate Lanka’s work. From my outsider’s vantage point, I can see the extraordinary effort that has brought Educate Lanka to where it is today, but the results have been impressive! I’ll continue to follow Manjula’s path and report back again in the coming months.
Though time is tight, students at local colleges might want to submit a pitch for a product in the Extreme Inclusion Competition.
Those without a product to pitch, as well as all other blog readers, may want to attend the Extreme Inclusion Conference on May 2, a conference exploring the role and impact of financial services in reducing poverty and generating well-being for marginalized populations. The conference will be hosted by Fletcher, in partnership with MasterCard Worldwide and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Here’s information from the conference organizers about the keynote speaker:
We are pleased to announce that Reverend James Lawson, Activist and Principal Strategist for the American Civil Rights Movement, will deliver the keynote address “Demanding Inclusion.”
We are honored to have Reverend Lawson underscore the civic and economic power of systemically marginalized groups to catalyze change as we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington. Reverend Lawson is one of the extraordinary individuals profiled in A Force More Powerful. The film, PBS Series, and book challenge the common misconception that violence is the ultimate form of power in times of conflict. Martin Luther King, Jr. called Reverend Lawson “the leading theorist and strategist of nonviolence in the world.”
Reverend Lawson will be introduced by David R. Harris, Provost and Senior Vice President, Tufts University and editor of The Colors of Poverty: Why Racial and Ethnic Disparities Persist.
You can register for the conference here.
I think the word is out that I cherish students’ unsolicited contributions to the blog. When I received a note from MALD student Lauren, I was happy not only because I was spared some writing, but also because she shared some exciting news. Lauren told me:
A team of Fletcher and Friedman students has advanced to the regional finals for the 4th annual Hult Prize. Our team is made up of two Fletcher students (Jane Church and myself), one Friedman student (Kimberly Feeney London), and one dual-degree Fletcher-Friedman student (Christina Filipovic). This year’s Hult Prize is themed around global food security, and the challenge (posed by President Clinton) is to create a social enterprise to get safe, sufficient, affordable and easily accessible food to the people of urban slums. If we advance through the regional finals, we participate in a summer incubator to further develop our business. A final round of decisions will occur in September and we could compete with the winners from the five other regions throughout the world for $1 million in start-up funding to launch a sustainable social venture.
And here’s some general information Lauren provided: The Hult Prize is the world’s largest student competition and crowdsourcing platform for social good. In partnership with the Clinton Global Initiative, the Hult Prize identifies and launches social ventures that aim to solve the world’s most pressing challenges. Student teams compete in five cities around the world on March 1 and 2 (this coming weekend!). The Tufts team will compete at the Boston regional final, with the four other regional competitions held in San Francisco, London, Dubai and Shanghai. Each team was selected from more than 10,000 applications received, totaling over 350 colleges and universities, representing over 150 countries.
The summer business incubator Lauren referred to provides participants with mentorship, and advisory and strategic planning, as they create prototypes and set-up to launch their new social business. The final round of competition is hosted by the Clinton Global Initiative and CGI delegates will select the winning team that receives the million dollar award, presented by former President Bill Clinton.
In a press release developed by the University, Lauren is quoted saying, “We think there is enormous potential to use market-based solutions to improve food security, economic growth and social justice despite the challenges posed due to population growth and climate change.”
In the same press release, the founder of the Hult Prize, Ahmad Ashkar, attributes the success of the competition to the global youth revolution and said, “We continue to be moved by the large number of students from around the world who are capitalizing on the opportunity to develop business models that target the bottom of the pyramid.” And he said, “We wish every team the best of luck and thank Tufts University for supporting this initiative.”
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